New Delhi: With continued stubble burning in parts of Punjab and Haryana, a thick blanket of fog has engulfed Delhi and the national capital region (NCR), with air quality dipping to 'very poor'.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) on Monday said that overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of the national capital was detected at 329, which falls in the ' very poor' category.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 severe or hazardous.
In Delhi's Mandir Marg, major pollutant particulate matter 10 (PM10), was detected at 707, while in vicinity of Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium it was detected at 676 and near Jawaharlal Nehru stadium at 681, all theses fall under the 'hazardous' category.
In Lodhi Road area, pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 further fell to 'poor' category.
The SAFAR, in its advisory, has appealed people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children to avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.
The organisation has also issued precautions for the citizens, saying that the poor condition of air could affect their health. Residents may experience a significant increase in respiratory issues, it added.
As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the minimum temperature in the national capital stood at 15 degrees Celsius, with maximum of 29 degree Celsius, with shallow fog on Monday. The forecast department has also predicted that the next three days of the week are going to be sunny with clear skies.
Speaking to ANI, Neeti Garg, a cyclist, said the government should take stringent action to curb air pollution in the national capital. "We should totally ban crackers and reduce the number of private vehicles on roads. It's high time that the government should take stringent action to curb air pollution," she added.
"The situation, with regard to pollution, is alarming in Delhi that we are facing problems in breathing while cycling. We put our mask and come out. Diwali is around the corner and we believe that the situation of the air quality is going to deteriorate after Diwali as people are not following the Supreme Court's guideline," said another cyclist.
Taking cognisance of the deteriorating air quality across the globe, the World Health Organisation on October 29 had released a report titled 'Air Pollution and Child Health' which stated more than 60,000 children died from respiratory infections caused by air pollution in 2016.
It also added that around 93 per cent of the world's children under the age of 15 (1.8 billion approx) are exposed to high levels of PM 2.5. Worst are those living in developing countries where 98 per cent of children are exposed to very unhealthy air.
In its report, the organisation suggested that renewable energy, clean cooking and lighting technologies and better waste management can reduce air pollution load.